​Monstera – Species, Handling & Care

Monstera didn't only receive its name due to its magnifical size and a bit scary look. The word “monstrous” in Latin also refers to the meaning “abnormal”, and really the plant looks very unusual thanks to the leaves' shape. Monstera is a member of the arum family (bushes and lianas) and grows naturally within the South and Central American regions.

Monstera – Species, Handling & Care

Monsteras are evergreen plants with thick, climbing stems, and very often have aerial roots. Large dark-green leaves on long stalks have differently shaped holes and cuts, and a leathery feel. An inflorescence looks like a fat, cylinder shaped spadix. Flowers are androgynous at the top, and sterile at the bottom.

Monstera is an exotic plant that is commonly grown indoors. It very well ionizes air, and is really easy to keep and handle.

Content

Hadling & Care

Light

Monstera needs bright diffused light. To locate your monstera, choose a spot near a window in the eastern or western part of your house.

When growing in the northern part, your monstera might have a lack of light. If to place it in the southern part of the house then you will need to protect monstera from straight rays of sun.

When your plant is satisfied with light conditions, it has large leaves with a beautiful cut pattern. In poor light conditions the leaves of monstera are small and its aerial roots are week and thin.

It's better not to move monstera from place to place if there is no real need for it.

Temperature

Monstera doesn't ask any special temperature requirements. Just note that as higher the room temperature is, as better your monstera is getting developed. The optimal room temperature during spring and autumn is from 20 to 25 °C. In the winter, it's ideal for monstera to grow in the environment with 16 to 18 °C, although the minimal temperature can drop even to 10 °C for a short period of time.

During the cold seasons you also need to watch out for drafts, they are dangerous for monsteras.

Watering Schedule

Water monstera plentifully during spring and summer. As soon as the top layer of soil is moderately dry, moisten your plant with soft, settled water. In the autumn monstera doesn't need much watering anymore. And in the winter watering is only required 2 days after the top layer of soil gets dry.

Be sure that the ground in the pot is not overdried or overmoistened. If monstera gets too much water it can affect roots and leaves. Roots can get rotten, leaves might get spots.

Humidity Requirements

Monstera needs to be regularly sprayed with water, please don't disregard this procedure. For spraying, use settled water at room temperature. The leaves of monstera need some extra moistening as well: from time to time, softly wipe dust from leaves with a wet cloth.

Fertilization

From mid spring to the end of summer, to avoid monstera's slowdown in growth, nourish adult plants with mineral and organic fertilizers twice a month. It's not necessary to fertilize young plants of monstera.

Besides, you need to support your monstera's stem or leaves with a stake or a rope.

Pruning

When an old plant's growth starts slowing down, you can cut off its top, it will stimulate growing of new side-sprouts.

Aerial Roots

Every leave on monstera grows aerial roots that can not be cut off. These roots you need to put either in the pot of the monstera, or in a separate pot with nutrient-rich soil. It will improve the nourishing of the plant.

If the aerial roots develop slowly and don't reach the soil in the pot, you need to put them in a bottle of water or wrap them with moistened moss. Another way to support week aerial roots is a plastic tube wrapped with algerian fiber and filled with soil. Make several holes in the tube and allocate the roots through the holes, into the soil.

Flowering

In nature monsteras bloom every year, but monteras that grow indoors bloom rarely. If you nourish it well, after 2 years monstera can make some small inflorescences, with androgynous flowers put together as a cob with a cream coloured bract. When the fruit is ready, the bract becomes hard and falls off. The violet coloured fruits of monstera are around 20 cm long, and look similar to corn cobs. They consist of closely appressed juicy, sweet fruits with a flavour that reminds of strawberry and pineapple.

Monstera

Transplanting

Young plants of monstera you need to transplant every year. When your plant is 3 to 4 years old, move it to a bigger pot every 2 years. And when your monstera reaches the age of 5 years or older, transplant it once in every 3 to 4 years. Every year add more soil in the pot.

Young monsteras need to be planted into a neutral/slightly acidic soil (pH 5.5 to 6.0). Mix together sand, humus, peat mold and humous soil (1:1:1:2).

For transplanting grown up monsteras, use a soil with pH 6.5 to 7 mixed of humus, peat mold, leaf mould, homous soil and sand (3:1:1:1:1).

Use a big pot with a proper drainage on the bottom.

Propagation by Seed

When propagating monstera by seeds you need to sow them in a warm well-lighted room. Seeds should sprout within a month. First leaves are juvenile and have no cuts. After 5 to 8 months new plants get their first real leaves. After 2 years monstera has up to 5 juvenile leaves and up to 4 adult leaves. The young plants are easy to handle, you need to prick them off, place into pots and transplant every year.

Propagation by Stem

Propagating monstera by stem needs to be processed in the periode of early spring to early summer. For propagation use top stems with 1 to 2 leaves or side-sprouts. Dust the cut area with wood coal powder when making a cut. You need to make a drainage on the bottom of the pots that you are going to use for planting the stems. First put brick rubble on the bottom, then cover it with 2 cm of humous soil or peat mold, and then put 2 to 3 cm of sand on top. Plant a single cut stem into every pot, and cover them with glass. Water every morning and evening and keep the air temperature inbetween 20 and 25 °C. When monstera strikes its first roots, transplant it into a temporary pot. After 3 to 4 years a grown up monstera can be moved into a large pot or a tub. When using stems with aerial roots for propagation, monstera will strike new roots faster.

Propagation by Top Cut

Eventually, grown up monstera doesn't look very beautiful anymore due to loosing its bottom leaves. In this case wrap a couple of aerial roots from the top of your plant with moistened binding twine or moss, and attach them to the stem. When the aerial roots will start making new roots, you need to cut top part off and plant it into a new pot. Dust a cut area with wood coal powder.

After this procedure, the old plant will start making side sprouts and become more branchy.

Toxicity

There are elements in the juice of monstera's leaves that can cause skin irritation and mucous membrane inflammation. The juice of monstera's crude fruits may bring on a gastric or bowel hemorrhage, or mucositis.

Pests and Diseases

When monstera doesn't receive enough light, its stem starts losing leaves and the growth slows down.

Leaves of monstera can be affected by red spiders. As a result the plant gets brown spots on the underside of its leaves.

When monstera has a lack of nutrients, leaves may become yellowish.

In case when the soil in the pot is overmoistened, the leaves also become yellow and even start rotting.

If you see that leaves become brownish and look paper alike, it may be a result of growing monstera in a too narrow pot, or the air in the room being too dry.

When monstera's leaves loose their bright green colour and get some yellow spots, the most possible reason for it is an overexposure to sun light.

When the plant lacks light, the stem becomes twisted, the sprouts stretch and new leaves grow inconspicuous and small.

When the soil is overmoistened, you can notice some small drops on the leaves (crying leaves). Water it less frequently, let the growing medium become dry first.

If the leaves of monstera don't have cuts and holes, it can be a result of having too less light or nutrition.

Healthy leaves of monstera fall off with age, and it's normal. But if the leaves become brown and dry before they fall off, it means that the room temperature is too high for monstera.

The most common depredators attacking monstera are red spiders, plant lice and scales.

Species of Monstera

Monstera Adansonii

Monstera Adansonii is also known as Adanson's Monstera. This type is commonly found in tropical woods in the region from Brazil to Costa Rica. The lianas of this species can grow up to 8 meters long. Leaves are fine, egg shaped, 25 to 55 cm long and 20 to 40 cm wide. It has beautiful fenestrations on the complete surface area of the leaf. When being cultivated indoors, Monstera Adansonii blooms pretty rarely. If it happens, the cob will be light yellow, placed on a short stalk. The approximate size of the cob is 8 to 12 cm long and 1.5 to 2 cm wide.

Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera Deliciosa is known by many names, such as Fair Plant, Hurricane Plant, Swiss Cheese Plant. Originally this climbing liana grows in the rainforests of the tropical part of Central America, at a height of 1 km above sea level. Young leaves of Monstera Deliciosa have a shape of a heart, with cutless edges. Grown up leaves are large (up to 60 cm in diameter) and also heart-shaped. Leaves have a leathery feel and lovely fenestrations with many cuts and holes. The cob is up to 25 cm long and up to 20 cm wide, with a white bract. The fruit pulp is edible and has a taste and flavour similar to pineapple.

Indoors Monstera Delisiosa can grow up to 12 m high in greenhouses and up tp 3 m high inside a regular house room. If you take a proper care of this kind of monstera, it might bloom every year. Another variety called Monstera Delisiosa Vatiegata has variegated white leaves, grows a lot slower and is less easy in handling.

Monstera deliciosa borsigiana

Monstera deliciosa borsigiana is widespread in Mexico. Stems of this species are not as thick as stems of Monstera Delisiosa, the leaves are a smaller, up to 30 cm in diameter. It's easy to handle and commonly cultivated indoors.

Monstera Obliqua

Monstera Obliqua is also known as Monstera Falcifolia or Monstera Expilata. The origin of this variety are the rainforests of the tropical parts of Brazil and Guiana. Leaves are whole, lanceolate or ellipsoidal, anisopleural at the stem, up to 20 cm long and up to 6 cm wide. The maximum length of a footstalk is about 13 cm. The inflorescence is placed on a 8 cm long flower stalk. Cobs don't have many flowers, up to 4 cm in length.

Monstera Pertusa

Monstera Pertusa or perforated monstera, comes from rainforests of the tropical part of America. Leaves of this climbing liana are long egg-shaped, up to 90 cm in length and up to 25 cm in width. Holes in the leaves are not evenly spread, and the leave itself is asymmetrical, wider at the stem. Cobs are about 10 cm long, surrounded with 20 cm bracts.


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